The Ole Miss Rebels are hosting the LSU Tigers this weekend, and the headlines surrounding this game have been nothing short of dramatic.
Ole Miss is coming off a rather absurd win over Tennessee last weekend in Knoxville. Tensions were high as former Vols head coach Lane Kiffin made his return, but there weren’t many people who expected a 20-minute delay of the game due to trash being thrown on the field. Volunteers fans at Neyland Stadium were electric throughout the entire game, creating a difficult atmosphere for the Ole Miss offense. On one of the last drives of the game for Tennessee, the defense was able to get them under control. Sam Williams sacked quarterback Hendon Hooker and was crucial in forcing a holding call.
The Volunteers needed a touchdown to win and were forced to go for it on 4th-and-24. Thanks to a clutch tackle by Otis Reese, the Vols were unable to convert and were marked one yard short from the first down line. Volunteer fans did not take this lightly. Bottles, cans and mustard bottles rained down from both the upper and lower decks throughout the stadium. One fan hit head coach Lane Kiffin with a golf ball during the delay. After the chaos was mostly over, the Rebel offense failed to move the chains, resulting in Tennessee getting the ball back with 27 seconds left in the game. All eyes were on the defense as they were tasked with holding out the opposing offense to win the game for the second week in a row. Though there were some doubts, the Landshark defense held on for the win to improve to 5-1 on the season.
Heisman front runner, Matt Corral, suffered an ankle injury against the Vols on Saturday night. He left the game for one play while Luke Altmyer stepped into the quarterback role. Corral ended up returning to finish the game, and in the post-game press conference told media members that he felt fine, and the ankle injury was just a stinger. However, on Monday, Lane Kiffin mentioned that he was unsure about Corral playing on Saturday.
“He’s not in very good shape,” Kiffin said on Monday. “He hasn’t been for the last two days. You guys know how we are on injuries. Hopefully, he will play but I don’t feel good about that right now.”
The Rebels have had their list of injuries grow over the last few games, and Corral is another name on that list. Star wideout Jonathan Mingo was ruled out after suffering an injury before the Alabama game and will most likely not return this year. Wide receiver Braylon Sanders left the Tennessee game with an apparent hamstring injury, and his status for LSU is still unclear.
On the other side, the LSU Tigers season has been abysmal. After winning the National Championship and having a perfect season in 2019, LSU has gone 9-8. While not a losing record, it wasn’t enough to secure Ed Orgeron a head coaching job next season. The university and football program announced that this would be Ed Orgeron’s last season as the LSU head coach. In a press conference Monday, Orgeron told the media this was a mutual decision between the two parties. The head coach has opted to finish out the season with his team before he departs after this year.
LSU started the season off by heading to Southern California to take on UCLA. There were a lot of expectations for this game, and UCLA ended up getting the best of the Tigers. This set up a less than ideal season so far, and LSU has suffered losses to Kentucky and Auburn in back-to-back weeks. LSU has also been riddled with injuries, losing star receiver Kayshon Boutte, defensive end Ali Gaye, all-American corner Derek Stingley Jr., and defensive back Eli Ricks. There are plenty more injuries that have drastically affected their depth so far this season, and on the road, it will be tricky on defense to find players for the fast-paced Ole Miss offense.
This has been a historic rivalry for years, and the last time that the Rebels were able to get the win in the Magnolia Bowl was in 2015. The Magnolia Bowl typically brings a lot of attention to its matchup and in the past few years has been a high-scoring matchup. SEC Nation, hosted by Laura Rutledge and the SEC Network, will be in the Grove on Saturday to preview all of this week’s SEC games.
The most notable part of this game will be the retirement of Eli Manning’s jersey. Originally scheduled for the 2020 season, the retirement will now take place against LSU. Eli Manning was the Ole Miss quarterback from 2000-2003. During his tenure, he played in 43 games and won 31 of them. He is celebrated as one of the greatest Ole Miss quarterbacks of all time. The end zones have been painted over with Manning on them to honor Eli Manning ahead of his retirement.
Make sure to watch the Rebels as they take on the LSU Tigers on Oct. 23 at 2:30 p.m. C.T. on CBS.